Parents warned to think twice before buying kids smart toys, devices for Christmas

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching, many Kiwis are gearing up to get their Christmas shopping sorted for a fraction of the price.

Yet Australia's eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, is warning parents to be wary when it comes to purchasing devices and smart toys as kids' Christmas presents.

Drones, phones, tablets, smart toys and wearables can all provide potential pathways for hackers to conduct sinister activities. Grant warns parents that devices may enable strangers to spy on their children.

"Many toys, games and devices on children's wish lists can be connected to the internet, so we want parents and carers to be aware of the risks and the precautions they can take," Grant told 7 News.

"Internet-connected toys and devices can reveal your child's personal details and location to outsiders and allow other people to contact your child online with you knowing."

An Australian eSafety Gift Guide, released on Tuesday, suggests creating strong passwords, disabling location settings, deactivating video or audio recording capabilities and sharing a limited amount of personal information.

"Smart toys and accompanying user accounts may store personal information such as your child's name, age, gender and location," the guide warns.

"These databases can be exposed to third parties - including hackers - revealing your child's personal information which may be exploited. Inbuilt cameras and microphones may record audio or video of your child."

The commissioner also advises parents to carefully monitor their children's tech time to ensure their online safety.